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California Wines: A Beginner's Guide


Vineyards thrive in California weather, which means there are plenty of great California wines to choose from. But often times too many choices can lead to information over-load, making your choices more difficult.

Aside from the type of wine (i.e. merlot, cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay, and zinfandel) there are many pretty labels and price ranges to choose from.

If you're not already a wine connoisseur then it may be difficult to even know where to begin. Luckily, there are many ways for you to find your favorite California wines fast.

The easiest and least expensive thing you can do in your search for a California wine is to visit any number of online wine forums.

Here you will be able to see what real people are saying about various wines. You can search the forums to find insight into various wines and wineries that people have been talking about, both good and bad.

If you have any specific questions that haven't already been answered then you can sign up and ask. Online communities are usually happy to assist one another.

The next thing you can do is visit your local market that carries the largest selection of wine and ask someone who works there.

Places like Trader Joe's are perfect for this. The wine selection is substantial which means many wine enthusiasts go there to purchase their wine. Next time you see someone stocking the wine shelves you can ask them which kinds of California wines seem to be the most popular. Surely they will have noticed a trend, and they've probably tasted quite a few flavors themselves, and are therefore able to give their opinion too.

If you really want to find your favorite California wines then you're going to have to get in there and start trying them.

One of the best ways to do this is to join a wine club. You can even find California wine clubs that specialize in California wines. The way it works is simple. You sign up and pay any applicable membership fees and you get hand-picked wine sent directly to your home or office, and usually at a discount too.

Another great feature of wine clubs is the variety of wines that you'll get that you won't always find in stores. Many California wineries are small, and therefore not able to get their product on the shelves of many retailers. You'll be able to find some hidden gems that you wouldn't otherwise know about.

You can also give your significant other a wine club membership as a gift, that way you can surprise them with a cool gift and be able to try new wines together.

The most exciting way to choose a wine is by going wine tasting. Figure out your closest California wine region, such as Napa Valley, Sonoma, Temecula, Lodi, etc., and make a day out of it.

Gather up some friends, with at least one designated driver, and visit as many wineries as you like within the allotted time. There may be a fee but you should be able to get your money's worth, not to mention expose your pallet to many great California wines.

If no one wants to be the designated driver when wine tasting, it might be fun to splurge and get a limousine to drive you around.


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